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Published on December 3rd, 2012 | by Brandon

13

PC Build Guide – December 2012

Welcome to the December version of our PC build guides. As with before, we have implemented hard price limits ($500, $800, $1300, $1800) on ourselves and have had to make tough decisions with each build. Your personal budget will likely be flexible, but we hope this article will give you a baseline. You can of course spend more or spend less, but you run into a case of diminishing returns at either end. Please keep in mind that pricing information is immediate and may not necessarily reflect real prices by the time you have read this article.

As we come into the prime Christmas shopping season, prices on most parts have returned to normal (or even risen, in some cases) after the craze that was Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Aside from some motherboard shuffling and other minor changes compared to last month to stay within our price constraints, the only real noteworthy change is a welcomed video card upgrade for the Starter build, as we trade up from an MSI Radeon 7770 GHz Edition to a GeForce GTX 650 Ti from EVGA.

 

The Starter ($500 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/qJGX

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 ($99.99 @ Amazon)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G41 ATX LGA1155 ($87.55 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($18.98 @ NCIX US)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB ($139.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W ATX12V ($39.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $499.47

 

The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/qM0E

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($214.99 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 ($109.99 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: Patriot IEM 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($31.99 @ Amazon)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB ($244.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W ATX12V ($39.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $798.41

 

The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/qMrE

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($314.99 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($119.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-1866 ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5″ SSD ($99.99 @ B&H)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB ($379.98 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($85.44 @ Amazon)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V ($109.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1297.32

 

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/qM2U

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($314.99 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 ($144.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-1866 ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Hard Drive: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5″ SSD ($169.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($379.98 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($379.98 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V ($104.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1791.86

 

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About the Author

Brandon

Brandon started his PC gaming days playing Doom II (IDDQD/IDKFA for life) and has been hooked on online gaming since the original Starsiege: Tribes. The way to his heart is through proper grammar, corn dogs, and cookie cake.



13 Responses to PC Build Guide – December 2012

  1. beardedvillain says:

    You guys should start including a “PC Peripherals” section on there builds so you can accommodate to those who are starting from complete scratch and may not have a monitor/keyboard/mouse for gaming.

  2. munkyadrian says:

    i love your guides
    i have a slightly modded version of the enthusiast in my builds that im planning to buy
    got a bitfenix shinobi xl case and corsair memory, i already have a hardrive in this build that im going to reuse, need to reinstall windows though :(
    2T is plenty, and im also planning on using the silverstone hddboost with whatever cheap ssd i can find
    keep it up

  3. Disconsented says:

    You really should include the cost of an OS.

    • JUDE-JITSU says:

      Since the recommendation will probably be Windows 7 Professional across the board, just add 100 dollars to the builds. It becomes 600 ,900, 1400, and 1900 dollar builds. If people already have an OS or plan on running Ubuntu, then they could squeeze extra performance out of the build price limits and that’s what the build guides are about. It is a good idea to factor OS prices into a build, but because it varies so heavily from person to person, it probably shouldn’t be in these specific guides.

    • seanbutnotheard Brandon says:

      We don’t include the cost of an OS for a few reasons. Some people re-use a copy of Windows they already own, and some people buying a new copy of Windows will have special pricing deals through their employer, school, or other program. Still others may choose to put a variant of Linux on their machine. So because the OS a person chooses and the actual cost of that OS will vary depending on each person’s situation, we don’t include that in these guides.

      • Dex says:

        Windows 8 costs 40 bucks and doesn’t even care if you’re using a legit copy of Windows. Anything from XP up. Has essentially the exact same performance in gaming.

      • Disconsented says:

        I’ve seen many people caught out (especially on the cheaper end) because builds don’t include an OS with them. Next time it is worth noting the prices of 7 & 8 and suggest a couple of linux distros for newbies. (Open Suse and Ubantu).

  4. Yixs says:

    Ordered “The Professional” with a 24 inch HD monitor and Windows 7, thanks guys. :)

  5. JeffLaFlavor says:

    If your willing to shed a bit extra, you can slap a 660 TI on that $800 build and you will be set for a while… and that MoBo allows for future SLI

  6. notech4u says:

    You guys should really include a ‘RAW POWER’ or ‘PENNY PUSHER’ Build… I mean these are really great, but you can still slim down more and get way more pure game performance on a lot of these builds. For example, i just built my friend a desktop with a 3570K and EVGA 670 FTW edition for just under $815! Still had 8 gb RAM and an SSD. That’s almost $500 Less than your “Enthusiast Build” and nets you VERY close in Frames Per Second in almost any game. Just Sayin’ ;)

  7. Lozo115 says:

    For the 500 build, you should switch the Phenom x2 955. It is the same price yet it is a tad stronger. I have that in my build and it is beautiful!

  8. Wheelbarrow says:

    I FINALLY made an account just so I could mention the CPU for the enthusiast and professional’s build (i7-3770K) can be found at MicroCenter for the ridiculously low amount of $229.99. A whole $85 less than listed here! I mean isn’t this worth mentioning… ;)

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